Bell Digest vol01p06.txt

Subject: The Pavis Enquirer,  Volume 1,  Number 6

From: 8hum190@violet.Berkeley.EDU

Subject: Sorcery rules

[This is taken from a letter Elliot Wilen sent me around the time of creation
of this mailing list.]

Yes, the current rule on Free Intelligence sucks. I
couldn't believe it when I read it, and I immediately knew I was going to
throw it out. I replaced it with the following, which is part of a general
revision to the magic rules:

a. A sorceror may learn any number of spells. Having learned a spell
   means having a percentile to cast it.

b. However, a sorceror may only cast a spell which he has memorized.
   A sorceror must allocate 1 INT to each spell he has memorized; he
   may memorize no more spells than he has INT (plus that of his
   familiar, if he has one and it is within range--10 km). He may only
   use INT to manipulate spells which has not already been allocated
   to spell memorization.

c. Spells may be forgotten at the rate of one per hour. They may be
   rememorized from a magic book or scroll (or other written source)
   at a rate of one per hour. This may be done concurrently with
   forgetting other spells. Committing a spell to writing is a special
   process, [possibly requiring a Ceremony Ritual and certainly]
   requiring special materials (fine ink, fine quill, vellum, parchment,
   or fine papyrus); in other words, it can't be done at the spur of the

[The material in brackets is optional.] As far as my general revision goes,
it's really not all that extensive--it consists mainly of limiting the
availability of magic by increasing the duties and restrictions at each stage
of learning. In the case of Sorcery, this means that I call Apprentice what
the rules call a Student, and an Apprentice has the duties of an Apprentice in
the rules. This is entirely a world-background decision, because I want magic
to be available only to those who study it seriously (everyone else will have
to depend on magic items).

[The "you" below is Steve Maurer]

As for your complaint about higher degrees of spell manipulation not requiring
greater ability, I agree absolutely, and I'm happy you pointed that out. The
solution, which you mentioned, is simple: each point of manipulation (beyond
1) decreases the sorcery skill percentage by 5%. So if you want to heat
something at a range of 80m (3 points of manipulation) to a heat of 5 (4 points
of manipulation), your range skill is at -15% and your intensity is at -20%.
If you have Heat 60%, Range 30%, and Intensity 40%, your chance of casting is
15%. If you want to heat something to 6, you only have to spend one
more Magic Point; your casting chance remains the same.

An alternate system would be to figure the basic casting chance by the regular
rules (30% in the above example) and then subtract from that. In the example,
then, if you use 4 points of Range and/or intensity, your chance is reduced
to 10%. Another point and it goes down to 5%. After that it either stays at 5%
or becomes miniscule (by whatever method you like for approaching zero).


The second alteration (penalties for degree of manipulation) comes from
Steve's complaint that the system as it stands makes it dangerous to
have sorcery spells which get significantly powerful at higher degrees of
intensity--otherwise, a novice with a spell that heats things up could
use all his MP in one shot and have a fair chance of frying the
Witch-King. I noticed after sending this rule off that it pretty much
obviates the need for any concept of Free Int at all, since it provides
ample limitation on sorcery spell manipulation (which is what Free Int is
there for anyway, right?). So my Free Int rule can be retained, or Free Int
may be thrown out altogether, depending on taste (of course, you still can't
memorize more spells than you have Int).

My own implementation will most likely be:

1. Retain my rules on Free Int (they make some intuitive sense to me).
2. Use the first option for skill reduction based on amount of manipulation.

    -Elliot Wilen

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